Our Consultants

Align consultants include lecturers from Harvard Law School and the Harvard Negotiation Project, business professionals, mediators, and experts in communication and conflict resolution.

We come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, and have significant experience in “real life” negotiations – implementing what we teach in actual business, legal, government, and nonprofit contexts. We also have extensive experience internationally - tailoring our material to the special requests and expectations of a variety of different cultures.


Experience that Delivers

Align Consultants

Align Consultants

Click on the consultant name to read more about their experience and credentials.

Linda Netsch

Linda NetschLinda Netsch is the founder of Align Consulting, and a Lecturer on Law at Harvard and Stanford Law Schools. She provides executive education and consulting services for clients from fields including law, technology, banking & finance, energy, health care, government, and education. She works extensively internationally, including Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Mediation and executive coaching are also significant areas of her practice. Linda develops and supports entrepreneurs as an advisor at a Silicon Valley startup incubator and as a member of Golden Seeds, an early-stage investment firm.

Linda’s projects include helping companies prepare for major negotiations, working with international organizations to manage cultural and communication challenges, and implementing leadership development and corporate change initiatives. Consulting engagements include negotiating term sheets and corporate operating agreements, resolving business conflicts, and mediating employment and contract disputes.

Linda practiced law at an entertainment law firm in Los Angeles, focusing on contract and intellectual property litigation. She also worked as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Attorney at the US Postal Service Headquarters in Washington, D.C. As an ADR attorney, her duties involved increasing the use and effectiveness of negotiation, mediation, and other alternative dispute resolution processes within the Postal Service. She also mediated federal contract and employment disputes and facilitated sessions on changing federal rules and regulations.

Before private law practice, Linda served as an officer in the US Air Force – first as a communications-electronics program manager for a NATO satellite project and then as an attorney practicing criminal prosecution, contract, and labor law. She was on the faculty of the Air Force Academy where she taught business law and negotiation.

Linda has a B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a law degree from Harvard Law School. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area and serves on the Board of the Humane Society of Silicon Valley.

Michael Dickstein

Michael DicksteinMichael E. Dickstein is a leading mediator, arbitrator, and negotiation educator. He has been helping sophisticated parties resolve their complex disputes, since the 1990’s. Michael teaches negotiation and mediation at Stanford Law School, has led executive education programs on these topics worldwide, and has published various works on mediation and negotiation. Previously, Michael was a partner at the law firm of Heller Ehrman in San Francisco, and has served as a judge pro tem for the San Francisco and Alameda Courts.

Michael brings the practical application of negotiation and mediation skills to his teaching. He has mediated and successfully settled cases on a wide variety of topics (including class action, commercial, employment, contract, intellectual property, franchise, real estate, personal injury, discrimination, malpractice, construction defect, and defamation issues). Examples of Michael’s work include: mediating a nationwide wage and hour class action brought against a major financial institution, with over 60,000 class members and hundreds of millions of dollars in dispute; facilitating the contract negotiations between Canada’s theatre actors and major theatre owners; mediating an international trademark dispute involving the wine labels of a leading American and European wine producer; mediating a discrimination class action, involving a university’s structuring of its sports program, and provision of facilities and opportunities for women; mediating claims between one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and its franchisees; and arbitrating employment claims against a pre-eminent securities company.

Michael holds undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University.

Thomas Hughes

Thomas HughesTom Hughes develops leaders around the world through his teaching and coaching. Tom focuses on effective communication and public speaking, team and individual performance improvement, and change leadership, leveraging his background in Organizational Psychology and Organization Development.

Tom’s current research is focused on “liminal learning” (creating the conditions that allow for true transformation to occur) and how people form the habits and make and keep the commitments that lead to long-term change. All of these have significant impact on the way leaders engage and motivate employees, and create flexible yet execution-driven environments.

Tom was previously a Managing Director at Duke CE, the world’s #1 provider of customized executive education, where he led teams to design and deliver exceptional learning experiences for their clients. Prior to his time at Duke CE, Tom worked as an independent professional development consultant and coach, and as a Senior Associate in Booz Allen Hamilton’s award-winning corporate university.

Tom also spent several years as a full-time actor and writer, performing on stage and on film, and recording many audio books. During those years, he managed to avoid both the food-services industry and substantial fiscal success, but did discover many interesting metaphors for learning.

Tom holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University in Organizational Psychology, a conservatory certificate in Acting from the American Repertory Theatre’s Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard; and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard University.

Julie Matlof Kennedy

Julie KennedyJulie Matlof Kennedy helps lawyers and executives hone their professional skills. Since 2004, Julie has been teaching a negotiation skills seminar at Stanford Law School, where she also coaches students in trial advocacy courses, leads a negotiation colloquium, and serves as a moot court judge. Julie directed litigation training at Morrison & Foerster LLP for nearly ten years, designing and teaching courses on persuasive writing, trial skills, deposition techniques, public speaking, leadership, and team building. Julie has been a guest teacher and speaker at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the Practising Law Institute, Stanford Medical School, and a number of corporations.

Before making teaching the focus of her career, Julie was a litigation partner at Folger Levin & Kahn LLP, where she specialized in complex business disputes. Julie has tried several cases before a jury and argued successfully at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She has led and served on a number of nonprofit boards, including The Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Congregation Beth El, the Stanford Law School Board of Visitors, and the Wexner Heritage Alumni Council. Julie graduated with honors from Stanford University (AB 1987) and Stanford Law School (JD 1991).

Jeffrey Kerr

Jeffrey KerrJeffrey Kerr, M.S.W., LICSW is the Director of HumanMatters, a consulting and training company that specializes in communication enhancement, strategic relationship management and executive coaching. He travels nationally and internationally, assisting corporations to develop the communication skills that support business success. Training clients include: Conoco, Merrill Lynch, Amerada Hess, BP, Xilinx, Citrix, and Genentech.

In addition to consulting in the private sector, Jeffrey continues his career- long commitments in the public sector. He consults to Boston area health and mental health centers, where he helps individuals and work groups to design, improve and repair attitudes, relationships and strategic alliances. Public sector clients include the Latino Health Institute and Southern Jamaica Plain Community Health Center.

Jeffrey has been a leader in the field of family therapy for 15 years. He served as the Executive Director of the Family Institute of Cambridge, a nationally renowned training center for family therapy and mental health systems training, and is now a core faculty member of FIC. He also works as a consultant for Harvard's Program on Negotiation.

Jessica Notini

Jessica NotiniJessica is a dedicated and dynamic educator in the areas of negotiation, mediation, facilitation. She has extensive experience internationally and can lead sessions in either English or Spanish. Jessica’s has worked in a wide variety of fields, including biotech, construction, pharmaceutical and accounting companies, government, bar associations, courts and law firms. She also regularly teaches mediation, negotiation, and facilitation in the law schools at Stanford, Berkeley and Hastings and in the business school at Mills College.

Mediation is also a major part of Jessica’s practice. She is particularly well known for her expertise mediating in the areas of probate & estate, employment discrimination and business contracts. She can handle highly charged, emotional parties and is talented both in helping people work together respectfully in a joint session and in facilitating more evaluative settlement discussions through caucus. She is able to adapt her style to the needs of the cases, the parties and attorneys involved.

Jessica has a BA in Psychology from Wesleyan College in Connecticut and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Monica Parker

Monica ParkerDrawing on 15 years of experience working with law firms, corporations, non-profits, educational institutions and government agencies in the U.S. and internationally, Monica Parker helps organizations transform by focusing on their people in all aspects of career success. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal Legal Blog and quoted as an expert in Pink Magazine and Essence Magazine.

Monica's Specialties include Executive Coaching, Organizational Culture, Diversity & Inclusion, Employee Engagement, Talent and Professional Development, and Facilitation.

Monica has served as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School teaching negotiation and communication, as well as a member of the teaching team for the Harvard Negotiation Institute. She is also the author of What It Takes (American Bar Association) and The Unhappy Lawyer (Sourcebooks).

Gillien Todd

Gillien ToddGillien Todd is Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, where since 2001 she has taught the Negotiation Workshop and the Program on Negotiation’s public Negotiation Seminar.

She has taught negotiation and communication workshops for software, pharmaceutical, accounting, and retail executives across the U.S. In addition, she has taught workshops for attorneys in a variety of practice areas - corporate, intellectual property, litigation, and family law - in the US and Europe.

In her consulting practice, she focuses on team development and executive coaching. She helps leaders navigate their hardest conversations, understand how their own profile impacts their teams, and repair strained relationships. With executive teams, she focuses on improving communication and collaboration. In addition, she has mediated contract negotiations for a school district and a symphony orchestra; facilitated multi-stakeholder problem-solving sessions; and worked on strategic relationship management for strained alliance partners.

She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, her M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her B.A. from Yale University.

David Tollen

David TollenDavid Tollen is a legal expert on information technology (IT) and intellectual property (IP) agreements. David provides training on drafting and negotiating IT contracts, for both lawyers and non-lawyers (contract managers, startup CFO's, salespoeple, etc.). Contract-types include Software as a Service (SaaS) and other cloud computing agreements, software licensing, IT services, and e-commerce. Trainings are clause-by-clause and give students an understanding of the issues behind each clause and ideas on how to negotiate. David has the unique ability to make complex and confusing legal clauses understandable, giving participants clarity about what matters, what doesn't, and how to manage conflicts.

David is the author of the ABA's bestseller, The Tech Contracts Handbook, and the founder of Sycamore Legal, P.C. in San Francisco.

Areas of Expertise

  • Legal
  • Technology
  • Startups
  • Financial Services
  • Healthcare
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Employment
  • Entertainment
  • Supply Chain
  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Nonprofit